Pete Carroll-Mike Riley Press Conference Quotes
Oct. 20, 2009
COACH CARROLL: Just a note about last week. It was great to beat Notre Dame twice (laughing). We had a rousing weekend in South Bend...happy to get out of there with the win, and real proud of it. It didn't turn out exactly the way it looked like it was going to, but for some of the people that were watching at home, like Jim Hardy, you know, we rousted him out of his chair a little bit there at the end to get him going...got the juices flowing and made for a big finish. Fortunately, we got out of there with the win.
Lot of stuff we take out of that game, getting a chance for our young kids to go back to Notre Dame and to play and get that experience and all of that and understand what that's all about, of course, for the quarterback it was great for him. But we also learned a lot about how you can turn a game by your own mistakes and things as we did in the fourth quarter. We almost gave them a chance to get back into that thing.
So, hopefully, we can learn, and grow and make good sense of the experience. We are happy to be out of the first half of this thing and really digging into the Pac-10 now. This is really the heart of the schedule for us now as we're really Pac-10 ballgames all the way through the end.
We need to start the second half on the right foot with the big win here with Oregon State coming in. It really does seem like we haven't been home much. We've been road warriors and out and about. We've had a great time on the trips, and we've grown from it. It's wonderful to be back and playing in front of our home crowd.So we're going to try to max that out and make it a great, you know, a great homecoming and get this thing started in the second half.
We know we have a lot of home games in the second half of the season. It would be great to get off on the good foot here at the Coliseum against Oregon State. They look really strong. You know, Sean Canfield's playing great football. He didn't play all the time last year, but we've seen him over the years. He's hitting 68% of his passes, and has the entire field at his command.
They've got an offense that really does stretch the field to compliment their running game. He's doing a really good job of working the ball around.The Rodgers brothers are ridiculous. They're both terrific football players. They can get you a number of different ways. They can both catch it, they both can run it if you don't look out there and you see something happening in the kicking game as well.
So that and really the play of their offensive line has been really sharp so far. We take this with really a lot of respect based on last year, knowing how they blocked us pretty well, and ran well against us.
We've got to put together a great week of preparation. We've got to be very disciplined at the line of scrimmage to take care of Jacquizz Rodgers running it.He's the style of runner that really demands of it your defense. You give him a crack, he can take it. If you make a mistake he's going to take advantage of it. So it really calls for a strict approach to it this week, and hopefully we started that yesterday, and we'll kick it into high gear today.
Q. Once again, it was a game after a big interception. Is there anything you can do different after your loss to Washington following a big game like Ohio State?
COACH CARROLL: Not too much. We have the trip is behind us now. The difference is we're playing at home. It's a different follow up week in terms of travel and all that kind of stuff. So that changes it some. We're going to try to put together a great prep. You know, obviously the Pac 10, whoever it is, gets our attention. We've got to put together a terrific football game here.
So we're going to do the stuff we know how to do. There are a couple of things we have adjusted based on on what we've grown in the last couple of weeks and hopefully we'll fix some things up and play really sharp.
Q. With taunting and posing, I presume you lecture the guys every week about that. Is it tough to get through their heads?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, sometimes that explosion and exhilaration, you know, it comes out in the wrong way. These guys know, you know and some times it's just emotions that can get you.
We really did have an emotional upsurge in that game the other day. The challenge of it being close all of a sudden, the emotional surge wasn't just on our side of the football, they felt it. Our players felt it, the officials felt it. Everybody that was involved understood it. And we didn't do it as well as we'd like to. But we're on the topics constantly.
So it's a good learning experience. I sure would rather learn it when you win than when you don't.
Q. What was the reason for leaving in Joe McKnight on the 1st and 1 with Bradford?
COACH CARROLL: We haven't declared that Joe doesn't get to score touchdowns around here, so.
Q. Well, normally you wouldn't?
COACH CARROLL: You can't say normally, it hasn't been that long. We don't have normal right now. We're still working through our guys and trying to give the guys the carry that we think needs to carry the football. And it's between Jeremy (Bates) and (John Morton), you know and myself. We don't have a guy that's only going to be the goal line guy. That is your decision right there.
Q. I don't think Charlie Weis has said, but what do you think they would have done had they gone for one or two points after scoring the game-tying touchdown?
COACH CARROLL: Charlie would have done the right thing, I'm sure.
Q. Why did Anthony McCoy have such a big game? Is there a reason you saw them do that on film?
COACH CARROLL: No, it was just to take advantage of a normal game plan. You know, the two big bust out plays he had on short yardage, they cut him loose and real nice calls. Good action to draw them up and got them in behind him. Those are probably the two that were special.
But we're always looking to get the ball to the tight end, you know. And I think it was the catch and runs, you know, he's behind them a couple of times. The last play catch was on the quick seam route. He made a nice move to get out in open and run again. He had a lot of air time running down the field, so that's probably why we noticed him so much. But we took advantage of the down and distance and got in behind him on short yardage situations both times. Those were the ones that were different than normal.
Q. Can you talk about his growth over four years?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, he's been a really effective overall player for us for a couple of years now. The thing I like to talk about Anthony is he's a good blocker. He's a really, really a good blocker and takes a lot of pride in it. He's a good technician. He's tough. He's got an amazing wing span that allows him to really engulf guys.
And the fact that he takes pride in that just enhances the fact that he can run down the field and look great catching the football, too, you know. So he's a really big weapon for us in a number of ways and we love looking for ways to get him the football.
Q. What about his drops early in the season?
COACH CARROLL: He has really good hands. There are a couple of balls that got away from him that he should have hung onto a couple on the sidelines. There's been a couple of balls. But that's going to happen some.
But he's a reliable catcher. We particularly like when he gets down on the field and gets it going, he has very good speed, and it shows up.
Q. Assess some of your special teams? What's that like?
COACH CARROLL: We 50 50 on the thing. We didn't hit all our goals. We hit more than half of them. It was a great performance. We were disappointed in kickoff returns. We thought we could pop some balls on them. We were just average in that. And didn't really win the kickoff return battle in field position and all and that partially was because Jake kicked the ball out of bounds one time and didn't hurt him.
And it wasn't special enough. They only had a few balls returned on them all year in the punt return game. So that was not a big opportunity they had a nice way of kick the ball short and high and not allowing you to return the football. And really we had one kickoff recovered inside the 20. But just wasn't special enough. We expected to have more on returns on our kickoffs.
Q. What about Anthony McCoy? He seems to be emerging. How does he compare?
COACH CARROLL: I think they're a little different. Anthony's a more complete blocker. He's been consistently a guy that we've counted on to get movement and be able to scheme block. If you notice we do a lot of things with him on the move as well. He can handle all of that stuff. He's ahead of (Fred Davis) in that regard.
At the time when Freddy had that big year our young receivers weren't a equipped as much at the time, so we relied a lot more on having to go to Freddy. They're both about the same speed, a little better catching range for Anthony. And all that, a couple inches taller.
So both are very effective players. Anthony's a little more spectacular looking because he's so tall and so long. But Freddy had an extraordinary year when he was a senior. Do you guys like that in between time, the little pause? After I finish everybody goes hmmm?
Q. Takes time to absorb your wisdom.
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, that's probably it. Where's he going with this one?
Q. Can you talk about the fake field goal play by Notre Dame and your thoughts on that kind of play?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, well, we've used the play before. Do you remember who that was against? It was Washington a few years ago. And on the same weekend Oregon used the same play. We both picked it up from the NFL. Somebody had run it a couple of weeks earlier, and we both scored touchdowns on it.
And we had memos from the league office that said we could no longer run that play because it was intent to deceive. So the play went on the shelf. The Pac 10 wasn't going to allow that. Our Pac 10 officials allowed that, so I don't know what to tell you.
It was an intersectional game as somebody pointed out. I don't know if the Pac 10 officials jurisdiction, I don't even know what to tell you. I don't know what the answer is to this.
Personally, when the play was deemed not acceptable in our conference, I questioned that. You know, why not? We do a lot of things to deceive our opponents. We're trying all the time. We throw out and ups. We run reverses, and we run screenplays and draw plays. We disguise blitzes and all that kind of stuff.
But it is based on the substitution issue, and that is the part where they got sensitive to it. When you substitute in a fashion that looks like the guys are coming off the field and they don't, and that is how they did it. And that's how we did it as well when we ran the play.
It's not on any film to see how well they he disguised it, but the kid was on the field for the play before, so all he had to do was drag his way off. You have to be within a certain proximity of the huddle to be considered a part of the on the field group.
So it's very gray right there because there are a bunch of kids running on for the field goal protection team. So it's an easy play. It's really an easy play to call and to pull off. And when the player stands on the sidelines, they always have players stand right along the sidelines so he mixes in.
Q. It was illegal?
COACH CARROLL: It was legal. It was legal unless it isn't (laughing). And I can't tell you. I haven't heard back from the conference yet. I'd like to fill you in on that, but I don't know yet.
Q. You can't tell on the TV, your film could show you?
COACH CARROLL: No, our film does not show it. No, the film started too late. And they rushed too get on, so the film started. He's standing on the field of play. You know, they did a good job.
Cal did a hideout play a few weeks ago, they just threw it out of bounds. But that was not in a kicking play, that was in a scrimmage play. And that was a deception play based on substitutions, and they let that one go. So I don't know. I can't tell you. I don't have an answer for you. I'm kind of waiting with bated breath as you are.
Q. Your film doesn't indicate? You can't tell?
COACH CARROLL: No, I can't tell. Because the film starts when they're lining up. So we have no record of it. Somebody out there in the land of having telephones and stuff captured it, you can send it to us. We'd love to see the play.
Q. Was that before you ran it in the game?
COACH CARROLL: You don't have to do it if you don't want to. I don't know. I didn't get a chance. I did ask them. Did they report any trick plays that they want you to know about? And the referees said, no. They didn't tell me.
Q. Do you think the number of replays in the game adversely affected the game?
COACH CARROLL: I don't like replay, and I stand alone with this. People love replay, I don't like it because I love the football game to flow and go. There is human error even when they make their judgments on that stuff as well.
I don't have a leg to stand on that position. So I just like the game going and moving and keep rolling officials make their calls and do the best they can. But I'm kind of voted out on that one.
So we just have to live with it, and they do they can kind of own the rhythm of the game. I think, in this game I don't know how many there were, but there were a bunch of them. That's because the plays called on the field were different than what they thought upstairs.
So I think for the most part they got things right though. They did a good job with it. But I'd much rather keep playing. The games would go faster.
Q. Did you know Bud Grant was coming?
COACH CARROLL: Sure, I had talked to him well before to plan it out. We had also invited Jerry Burns, a guy who coached with us at the Vikings for years, and he got in transit. He couldn't make it.
But it was really wonderful having Bud there. It was great personally. I love him. He's one of my all time favorites. To have him around. He was there earlier enough to complain about why we were at the stadium so early. He was notorious for bringing his clubs in an hour before the game. I can't tell you what that used to be like. It was frantic, but it was like why are you here so early? Are you paranoid?
So it just went on. There were just little gems throughout the day. It was really fun.
As a matter of fact, I did run over to him after the game because he had had a thought and it said it somewhere. He had a thought that all you need to do as a coach is give your team a chance to win on the last play of the game. I had witnessed what he meant by that in the couple years we had been together.
So I just went over and made sure that he knew we at least gave you that to make it exciting for the day.
I will tell you a story not that you care or wouldn't ask about it. But we were playing the Chargers at the Metrodome one time. We were lined up to kick a field goal with 3 seconds left on the clock. I was in the press box with our guys. As we're getting ready to lineup I just happened out of the corner of my eye caught bud walking. He was turning the corner to walk up the tunnel. He was leaving stadium.
He said, exactly, you have a chance to win it. You either win it or lose it. What else can you do? I never forgot that. He never even turned back, never turned around. We kicked the field goal and won, and he just kept going. So pretty awesome. (Laughing).
Q. What has Oregon State been able to do against you guys better than anybody else? Scheme wise, position wise?
COACH CARROLL: They've been really effective against us on both sides of the ball. They've been able to give us problems and they've had good fortune at their place two of the three times. Jumping out on us early offensively. You know, we fell behind 21 0 last year at one time.
They executed really well. Their guys played great football. They played just as tough as anybody we've played on that day. And we had trouble staying up with them, you know. The tempo of the game was set by their side of the football and their guys. And their crowd had a lot to do with it, you know, and they did a great job of it.
It wasn't just because it was a Thursday night game, they did it to us on Saturday, in the afternoon, and the sunshine.
I have tremendous respect for Mike and what he does, and their scheme and their approach. You know, they're an interesting team when you watch them year in and year out, because they have their games. You wonder how could this team play like this had and play at the other end of the spectrum. They struggle with a couple of games this year early.
As we saw them last year, remember, we came off the Penn State game and the Hawaii game last year. In the Penn State they looked terrible in that game...got blown away. And they came back and played a pretty good game against Hawaii. Then they played the game of the year for themselves against us.
So we have a lot of respect for them in that they can figure out their ways. They can get their kids right. They can give us issues that can upset us and allow us to play right. So hopefully we'll be able to overcome that here at the coliseum, and we'll figure out what happens next time around when we play them up there.
Q. Four seconds to go, what did you think at the time? Could you have possibly thrown the pass?
COACH CARROLL: Well, I looked up at the clock and saw when it happened. I thought there was a second left, too. I wasn't even moved by it. I was watching everybody jumping around and having fun with it all.
So I wasn't that surprised that it happened, because I thought there was time left, too. It's amazing. We timed it as we were watching the film. We couldn't get it to 4 seconds, it was 3.6 and 3.7. So it was legit. I guess. Although the game was over, and the referees called it over and we were leaving. So it was made for a little more drama, and it was fun to get it one more time.
Q. Do you tell your guys, hey, we think there is a play left so they don't lose focus?
COACH CARROLL: They were kind of running around a little bit at the time. I was trying to get the word to the coaches that what I had seen and just trying to start thinking about the next play already. So then in due time they wouldn't let them run it without it. So we had time to get to those guys. So we used a timeout to make sure everybody was collected and read hey, because it was one shot there.
So I felt kind of like a basketball coach there, you know. So anyway, it was great drama. It was exciting. As we talked to the team yesterday, to have opportunities like that are extraordinarily unique and special. You don't want to dread those. You want to look forward to those times so that when you get them, you can take the moment and excel, and feel comfortable in the moment.
I thought we did. I thought our guys were very cool about it. Very collected and did exactly what they were trying to do until Josh slipped. Other than that, everything was on the mark.
Q. Given your druthers, would you rather have a lot of play be an offensive play from the four or defensive play?
COACH CARROLL: I'd rather be a defensive play. I've been in that situation a number of times, and I particularly like that. I like having that control, more so than the other way around.
Q. You watch a lot of good players, I'm just curious where Golden Tate's performance ranked?
COACH CARROLL: He's a great player now. He really is. He's a true play maker. He has extraordinary confidence in his own ability to make things happen. The catch he makes over the middle when he holds the ball away from T.J. or Josh, that's an amazing grab. The presence to know to keep the ball away, that was big time.
His ability to play with great speed on the deep ball. But the best part of the deep ball that he caught was he elevated at the end of all of that. He was running full speed 40 yards down the field, and he hit it and got up off the ground and needed every bit of that elevation to make the play.
That's big time stuff. That's reminiscent of Lynn Swann going over top guys in Super Bowls. Those are fantastic athletic demonstrations. He's a great player. We kind of held him down, to tell you the truth. We were fortunate. We did a lot of stuff on keep him under wraps. A couple of times they caught it on our one on ones and we tried it, and we covered them. But the one time he did get us.
Q. Do you think they're going to him on the last play?
COACH CARROLL: We were guaranteeing that they wouldn't as best we could. We were going to make them go to somebody else. As on the 4th and 10, same thing. Both times Clausen did the right thing staying away from the double team. So did a good job with it.
Q. What was the reason for letting Golden Tate when you have a corner back off six yards or so. Let him catch it and be a one on one? For not playing closer to the line?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know what you're talking about?
Q. You lined up in the slot and threw it straight to him. He had a few yards to run and you guys tackled him?
COACH CARROLL: That was the other guy. It wasn't Golden Tate so much. There was one time I think he caught the ball underneath us. But it was the slot guy. He was playing outside on those for the most part.
COACH CARROLL: Well, there's all kinds of different ways to play. You sit off and you catch them. You can play aggressively. He's playing on the line of scrimmage and he loses you. Then he has a different way of getting open, you know.
So it's just mixing ways. We did everything that you can think of. Zone wise, man wise, man under, doubled him, rolled up to him and all that stuff. But there's a lot of plays in the game. Sometimes he's going to get a little different look, and he took advantage of some of them. He's good enough to do that.
Q. Notre Dame usually plays the Wildcat?
COACH CARROLL: You guys aren't interested in talking about Oregon State right now?
Q. I'm just curious what your feeling of the Wildcat is and if it figures at all moving forward for you?
COACH CARROLL: It's a good style. You know, it's a little bit different wrinkle in running the football. I think the more that it happens, the easier it gets for the defenses.
It's a surprise element when you can adapt your defense to the fact that they have one less player available to you. You take the quarterback out, instead of him under center. Now he's got to get covered by somebody.
So they pick up a number right there instead of your defense fixing that. And it's a wrinkle that wasn't been on when the wildcat catches on and he starts throwing the ball, it's when it happens a little bit and you really have something going. Now you've spread the field, now you've taken guys out of the deep middle, and out of deep coverages, and you create one on ones across the board.
If you don't get out on of those one on ones, then they have an advantage to run it. When a guy starts going there, it's a big deal.
Q. Do you have anybody that can do that?
COACH CARROLL: Stafon Johnson was a guy that had done that. And played quarterback a bunch. We're recruiting kids that have done that. And we're excited about that. Right now Joe's (McKnight) done that a couple of days. As a matter of fact, if you guys remember, it was last year, I think the last snap of wildcat that we had was at on Oregon State. We left the wildcats up there.
Q. Does the rivalry at all
COACH CARROLL: I think USC fans, I mean, I can promise you that's happened before. That was a really good stadium on game day, and it won't matter what happened before. It will be cranked up. I think of stuff like that, you know. And, you know, then for that reason, you know, to make it like that a couple of years ago, too, it was fun.
Q. In the beginning some of those little mistakes that can affect the outcome of the game, the penalties. Can you talk more about that?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, it's awareness, you know. I made a point at halftime. We had two penalties for five yards at halftime. We're playing great, you know. And just the fueled it. I think by our miscues, kind of the climate changed, and we didn't adjust well to that. And so that's just kind of what happened.
It's something that's we'll stress, and it goes back to always protect your team. When you're making mistakes of the nature when you shove somebody, then you're stepping outside of rule number 1, you know. And that's guys lashing out. And that's a critical, crucial error in our approach to our football.
It started with Everson (Griffen), you know, he got excited and made some gesture. And that was the first thing. But then it just got to be some pushing and shoving stuff. And that stuff, you have to, we all that follow football know it's the next guy that gets caught. I promises you there were interactions going on.
But we fell prey to it, and they didn't as much, you know. That's lousy football, and we don't want to have that be any part of what we're doing or who we are.
Q. Do you think the NCAA's been cracking down on specific penalties more this year than before?
COACH CARROLL: That's a good question. I don't think any more than normal in that area. Those weren't areas of major emphasis. You know, low blocks and stuff like that, some injury issues. You know, I don't think I've seen it much in any big way.
The face mask penalty being a 15 yard penalty is a little different. You know, they missed a big face mask penalty on a play if our game, even though it was incidental, it would have been a huge play that put us down about the 15 yard line. So that's a play that's been recognized a little bit more, I think. You know what I'm saying? Because it doesn't matter if you hit it for a second or yank the guy's head off. It's the same penalty now. They're a little more apt to call it because they're aware of it.
When the awareness that they push at the beginning of the season sometimes gets focused in. I haven't noticed it that much.
Q. They fumbled four times and recovered four times. Is there anything that you stress to make sure your team recovers?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, our effort is to try to get the ball out, clearly. And our guys were going for it. But for one reason or another we're after our guys, elevated awareness even more so about the scramble and the rush to get to the football at all times no matter where you are. As you're laying on your back and squashed in the pile, if you hear the ball call, you got to get up and go.
We're going to continue to elevate it. Thrilled we got the ball out, but bummed we couldn't find a way to cull up with it. So we'll keep working on it.
Q. Any problem with the BCS standings?
COACH CARROLL: No. I really have the same stance that I've had forever. This is the first time that they unveiled, you know, the information, and this is really the most the least meaningful time of all, because we're so much in the middle of the season. You know, there's a lot of football. When it gets down to the last week, it makes a difference. Until then it doesn't have any bearing on anything to me.
I know there's a lot of people talking about it, and I guess that's why they do it.
Q. Moving back to the three technique, and Nick Perry on one side. Is this your most flexible defensive line?
COACH CARROLL: That's a good observation. It is. We have guys that play a lot of spots. We've moved a lot of guys around. And Jurrell (Casey) played nose tackle in the game for the first time extensively. We have a lot of flexibility with our guys. We've moved Everson around, tight end side, he's been inside on a few rare occasions. So our guys are very flexible. And Jurrell's done a great job of that.
Some of the guys being banged up, we've stressed moving people around so we would have flexibility. It's not, really a finished product yet. I think now that Armond's (Armstead) back, we need to find on out how he's doing...where he fits in. He played in a nice football game, but we have more information to gather. He was just a budding starter. He never really got a chance to take advantage of it.
So at that point, we still didn't know. We had started, he had started a year ago inside. Then we moved him out to see if we could take advantage of him and his play there. So we really haven't had a chance to make a great evaluation of that. So we'll continue to work at it. That's a really good aspect of our D line, and how they fit together. It helps us.
You guys are doing pretty good...couple of good comments, good questions. Pressure's on (laughing).
Q. Do you feel better?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I feel pretty good. Oh, I'm sorry. Oh, oh (smiling).
Q. Getting them back and maybe putting a little more?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, there's been a number of guys that are great zone runners over the years. Those to me are guys that can set the defense and run somewhere else. They force you to show where you're playing on your defensive assignments and then they run somewhere else. He's one of those guys. He's really good at it.
The fact that he's really fast, and he's really tough, and he's strong adds to his ability when he takes the information in and shoots it where he wants it to go. You know, he can get through tackles and he can break tackles and leave arm tackles and surprise you.
The most notable guy Emmett Smith was a great zone runner. He could make you play the defense, and if you didn't adjust out of it, he was going to get you. He sets you in a way, and this guy does the same thing. I have great respect for the way he plays and the way he runs. It really calls for us to be really good at it.
So our focus and our attention to it and respect for him was different than it was going into last year's game. We've elevated it, because it needs to. And we started out with really good work yesterday. The kids knew. You could tell they wanted to do this right. So we got the whole week together and see if we could tackle him on game day. All right. Thank you.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Oregon State football head coach Mike Riley
On keys of the team's turnaround
'Well I don't think it was anything dramatic, we just played better. I think in all three phases we improved and we took better care of the ball and we just did some of those little things that help you win games instead of those things that make you lose. We've gotten better. I've got a good group of guys that work hard and so that's kind of where we are right now. We had a bye and that felt good and now we'll see what the second half of the season brings.'
On Jacquizz and James Rodgers
'Oh they're playing great. They are two great kids I just love them. They are hard workers, good guys and obviously very talented and have meant a lot to our team and to our program in general. We're excited about them and about what they've done. They're just fun. They're the last two guys out every day and they're out there playing some kind of game with the ball boys. They just have fun doing this and both good kids.'
On status of quarterback Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao
'Well you know I'm really proud of both of these guys. They've both had great moments in our program and they've both had tough times. It's funny because it's almost a reversal of a year ago when Sean was hurt at the start and Lyle took over and had a good year, and then he gets hurt and Sean comes in and wins some games for us at the end. And then Lyle is just now getting healthy. He's physically able to play and has been practicing for probably about three weeks now full speed, kind of just working on getting back into it and getting his arm strength up. Sean probably played his best two games as a Beaver the last two games, very efficient, very decisive and productive. He's thrown for a good percentage and has taken care of the ball and is getting rid of the ball more quickly in the last couple of weeks. They've both played big roles for us and I think we're getting close to the point where we'll have two healthy guys available to play.'
On status of defense and Pac-10 leader Keaton Kristrick
'Keaton's really a good player, a great guy. You met him at the media day, he's the captain of our team and kind of leads that group. We relatively inexperienced along the front, and we've grown, we've gotten better. I think as the season's progressed and we're starting to get a better production up front. In our new secondary this year, we graduated all four guys from a year ago which was probably the scariest thing in the world for me going in. These guys have competed and I think have played some good ball and hopefully will get better and better as the year goes on. The defense has grown and we're doing a good job generally against the run, not always but generally. We've been better. It's a good hard working group that I hope and I think will get better.'
On Beavers giving Trojans trouble every year
'Oh I don't know, you know it takes a great effort. I have a ton of respect for the school and the program and the work Pete has done and that's just personal. I think that it's either going to bring out this best in you or bury you and I'm just proud we've competed well and there have been good football games in general. I think the whole USC deal with the last few years has made everybody in the conference either have to rise up or fall way behind and it's been good for everybody. Its one of those deals that you got to go year by year and you can't rely on anything in the past. We just look at it as a great challenge and a great opportunity for our team to get better and grow.'
On thoughts of USC and this week's game
'Well they're very impressive to watch as we study them on tape. I think they're defense as always is really, really strong and very aggressive. I'm very impressed with their front, they don't give people many breaks. They're high energy and really hard to block, and that's going to be a key factor in the game. If you can ever get to it and throw, their secondary is really aggressive and good too, so there's all sorts of factors there that are big. Offensively, they've got that balance going with a really good running game. I've really, really been impressed with Matt Barkley. I thought in the last game he played with a ton of poise, made some really, really big throws that were, you know they had some people around them and he was pacing in the pocket. All those parts are real and I think they look obviously like a really good team.'
On status of offense
'I've been pleased with their growth. We have a new left side over there and I think they're good players and they have gotten better every week. That's why our team I think offensively has gotten better the last couple of weeks. They've done a good job of being able to utilize their ability and compete and play. That's been, along with our secondary, probably our biggest project with this year's team. It's a good one though, because it's a young group and I think they'll grow during this year and I think they'll be good down the road too. I'm excited about it but I know the pitfalls of it, because that's a hard place to be especially this week.'
On status of Cameron Collins and defensive backfield
'I like that group a lot and I think that the playing that it had has been really good for them. There's nothing like playing and competing in the games. Him and Lance Mitchell and Suaesi Tuimaunei, that's a pretty good hand and all those guys have played safety for us. They have, I think, grown each week and I'm really proud of them that way. They're new starters and they played on special teams a year ago so they got time left to continue to develop a lot. We're looking forward to that growth.'
On what has enabled Jacquizz Rodgers' success
'I think it starts with his ability. He's a good player and he's got a great nose for the goal line too and we'll obviously give him the ball and let him do his thing. You know I don't think, there's no magic to it. He's a good player, a good runner, and when we can get some good blocks for him, he's got a good chance to score.'